Horatio?s role in the play Hamlet, which was written by William Shakespeare, is extremely important. In the first place, Horatio was the person who told Hamlet about the ghost. He also had the job of watching Claudius while the play was going on in order to see if he showed his guilt. Lastly, at the end of the play, Horatio had to tell everyone the truth about Hamlet. Hamlet could not do it himself because he died along with eight other characters.
Hamlet would never have known about the ghost of Old Hamlet if it were not for Horatio. Marcellus and Bernado, who were only guards; they sought the advice of Horatio in order that he would also see this apparition. Since Horatio was such a good friend of Hamlet?s, he was the one chosen to tell him. ??Let us impart what we have seen tonight Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life, This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.? (I, , l 180-187) Horatio, then told Hamlet the news about the ghost of Old Hamlet and that is when the whole drama of the play began. Hamlet states, ??I pray you all, If you have hitherto concealed this sight, let it be tenable in your silence still;?(I, iii, L 269-270) This scene is also significant because Horatio is the only other person who not only saw the ghost but knew what he told Hamlet.
After the ghost told young Hamlet what happened, Hamlet had to design a plan to figure out if the ghost was from heaven or hell. He then decided to use ?the players? as bait in order to see how the King acted to the play. After the plan was in place, Hamlet asked Horatio to join him and watch his uncle during the play in order to see his reaction Claudius?s reaction was clear, ?Give me some light. Away!? (III, ii, L 295) This reinforces Hamlet?s observations about the King?s guilt. Horatio then gives news back to Hamlet about the Kings reaction. Now, Hamlet may plan his revenge.
Hamlet decided to kill Claudius while he was doing something evil. When Hamlet finally had the chance to kill him, he thought to himself, ?And now I?ll do?t. And so he goes to heaven, And so am I <revenged> That would be scanned: A villain kills my father, and for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven.? (III, iii, L. 80-93) Hamlet needed to wait for Claudius to do evil, then he would kill him. When Hamlet dies along with many other characters in the play, he gives Horatio the task of telling everybody why Hamlet had feigned madness. He told Horatio, ?But I do prophesy th? election lights on Fortinbras; he has my dying voice. So tell him, with th? occurrentes, more and less, which have solicited?the rest is silence. (IV, ii, L 393-395) At one point Horatio wanted to finish the poisoned wine, but Hamlet convinced him to tell his story.
It is now proven how important Horatio?s role has been throughout this play. Horatio, Hamlet, and the ghost of Old Hamlet were the only people who truly knew why Hamlet was acting the way he was. This play contained many common themes relating to a guilty conscience. ?Hamlet is the first work of literature to look squarely at the falsity and sham of everyday life, without laughing and without easy answers. (Friedlander, p.1)?